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Virgin Flying Club matched my British Airways Gold status …. when I flew Little Red

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For a few weeks now, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club has been running a special promotion in conjunction with Little Red.  Little Red is the Virgin domestic airline which is running services to Heathrow from Manchester, Edinburgh and Aberdeen.

In theory the promotion is simple.  If you fly Little Red, the cabin crew will offer to match your existing British Airways status to the same level in Virgin Flying Club.  You will also receive 10,000 Virgin miles f0r a Gold match and 5,000 Virgin miles for a Silver match.

Little Red

Unfortunately the execution of this match has been poor.  I would have written about it earlier but I did not have proof that it works OK until last week.

This is what happens.

The cabin crew announce on your Little Red flight that they will match your BA status if you have your BA card on you to the identical Flying Club level.  Needing to have your BA card with you is the first snag.

On request they give you a form to fill in.

Here is the second snag.

Both the form AND the cabin crew announcement imply – but do not state explicitly – that you must be a NEW Virgin Flying Club member.  There is no space on the form to write in your existing Virgin number.

This is weird.  After all, if you fly enough with British Airways to get Silver or Gold status, it is likely that you would have a Virgin Atlantic account even if it is rarely used.

I have an existing Virgin account, as did the colleague I was travelling with.  We both filled in the form but did not write our existing Virgin numbers on it (there wasn’t a box for it anyway).  The crew collected the form.

We went home and waited, and waited, and waited.

Two weeks passed.  Neither of us had heard anything from Virgin.  I emailed the Virgin customer services team at [at] to ask what was going on.  In that email, I specifically said that I was trying to match my existing Virgin account and provided the account number.

I attached a copy of the application form.  My colleague was a smart cookie and told me on the plane to take a photo of the form with my iPhone.  Luckily I listened to him.

Nothing happened for a few more days.  I then had an email from Virgin asking for a scanned copy of my British Airways Gold card.  I had one of those on my PC anyway so that went across within a few minutes.  10 minutes later I got an email saying the match was sorted – and it was.

My Gold status lasts until July 2015.  I received the 10,000 bonus miles as well.  I will also receive a further 2,000 miles on my birthday!  I am also able to gift a Silver card to a friend.

In terms of Gold benefits, the key one for most people would be Virgin Clubhouse access when flying Virgin Atlantic in economy or premium economy.  You also receive lounge access when flying Little Red, although there is no Heathrow lounge at present until the move to Terminal 2 is complete in September.

I have no idea when this offer ends.  Every few days someone posts on Flyertalk that it is still active but there hasn’t been a report for a few days now (but neither has anyone said it has finished!). (EDIT – was still alive yesterday, see comments)

If you had time on your hands, this is not a bad deal.  A cash ticket on Little Red to Manchester would be under £100 return on most days.  You could use Avios to fly one way to save a few ££ and, if you had some, use Virgin Flying Club miles to fly the other direction.  The cost of the ticket would be offset by the 10,000 Virgin miles if you are Gold (it is more marginal for 5,000 miles if you are only BA Silver) and any benefits you get from the Gold card would be a bonus.

My tip is to fly FROM London on British Airways and the other way on Little Red.  You can then use the BA lounges at Heathrow.  At Manchester, Virgin uses the Aspire lounge which you can access using a Priority Pass or Lounge Club card and which is surprisingly pleasant.

How to earn Virgin Points from UK credit cards

How to earn Virgin Points from UK credit cards (April 2024)

As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Virgin Points from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses.

You can choose from two official Virgin Atlantic credit cards (apply here, the Reward+ card has a bonus of 15,000 Virgin Points):

Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard

15,000 bonus points and 1.5 points for every £1 you spend Read our full review

Virgin Atlantic Reward Mastercard

A generous earning rate for a free card at 0.75 points per £1 Read our full review

You can also earn Virgin Points from various American Express cards – and these have sign-up bonuses too.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold is FREE for a year and comes with 20,000 Membership Rewards points, which convert into 20,000 Virgin Points.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & four airport lounge passes Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express comes with 40,000 Membership Rewards points, which convert into 40,000 Virgin Points.

The Platinum Card from American Express

40,000 bonus points and a huge range of valuable benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Small business owners should consider the two American Express Business cards. Points convert at 1:1 into Virgin Points.

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and an annual £200 Amex Travel credit Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus and FREE for a year Read our full review

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Virgin Points

(Want to earn more Virgin Points?  Click here to see our recent articles on Virgin Atlantic and Flying Club and click here for our home page with the latest news on earning and spending other airline and hotel points.)

Comments (30)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Serrano says:

    I assume they won’t match your CX status?

    • Rob says:

      No, strictly BA only.

    • CV says:

      I was offered a status match challenge for my CX card. Instant silver then book a long haul flight to get gold. Declined it in the end as it involved spending actual money for a flight.

      • Rob says:

        Me too. My challenge was 20TPs in 7 months. Took it and am now Gold.

      • Fenny says:

        How did you apply for the match? – Just email Virgin CS? I could manage some US flights over the next few months, so a challenge would be good.

        • Rob says:

          In my case I was approached at the airport. I think the drive is to get regular UK domestic flyers onto Little Red. But always worth a direct approach via Client Services.

  • Sam wardill says:

    I got the match before flying so was able to get the £10 costa voucher in t1. However I never got the 10000 miles. Will have to chase that

  • Jon says:

    Did customer services allow you to merge / apply the gold to your existing account?

    Is it permitted to have two accounts?


    • Rob says:

      It was applied to my existing account, yes.

      No, you can’t have two accounts. My original plan – if they had created a second account – was to get customer services to merge them later.

  • Andrew says:

    This might be a daft question but why does it say operated by Aer Lingus when i book a Little Red flight from Manchester to LHR?

    • Rob says:

      They are Aer Lingus planes and Aer Lingus crew, disguised as Virgin employees. Virgin did not want to commit the cost of the service in case it all went wrong so it is subscontracted to Aer Lingus.

    • CV says:

      The Aer Lingus crew go on a 2 week conversion course to give them the required Virgin Flair.

  • Nick says:

    I like the sound of this – Virgin do seem to be gunning for BA, which will hopefully keep them on their toes.

  • Gav Bland says:

    You don’t need to have your gold card with you be a new flying club member or use the form All I did after a little red flight was e mail virgin customer services a scan of my BA gold card the virgin flying club number along with flight details and booking reference asking for card upgrade
    Within 3 days I had an e mail confirming card upgrade and a bonus 10000 miles in my account I received the virgin gold card by post a week later don’t try to ring customer services they have no clue about the offer you must e mail

  • Paul says:

    Possibly pedantic, but the crew belong to an agency and are not Aer Lingus staff. The agency may well be sub-contracted to Aer Lingus, but as I understand it from a Virgin staff member, they’re not actually Aer Lingus’s crew.

  • Dominic says:

    Will this work if the Little Red is booked and paid for using Virgin points, or does it have to be a cash booking?

    • N says:

      I’m sure it will work. You just have to prove you were on the LR flight and send a scan of your BA Gold card. They seem very keen to oblige

    • Rob says:

      Points are fine, I was on points

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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